Iranian missile 'reaches space'
Iran says it has launched its first ever missile into space
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Sunday, 25, Feb 2007 01:23
An Iranian rocket has succeeded in reaching space, an official said today.
Aerospace research centre official Mohsen Bahrami announced that the test flight had been launched successfully in a brief announcement on state-run television.
Few details were given about the launch. Dr Bahrami said that Iran's science and technology and defence ministries contributed to the aerospace centre's project.
Iran's defence minister was quoted by an Iranian newspaper that Iran's government wanted to develop its space capacity by "becoming a member of the space club", according to the Reuters news agency.
Today's announcement comes amid continued defiance from Iran's senior leaders about the country's development of nuclear technology.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday said his country would defend its nuclear programme "to the bitter end", continuing insistent affirmations of Iran's right to develop nuclear technology unhindered by the western world.
Members of the United Nations have imposed sanctions on Iran over its refusal to stop developing atomic technology because of fears that Iran secretly plans to create a nuclear arsenal.
On Friday the Economist newspaper alleged that the US government wanted to expand its controversial 'Son of Star Wars' missile programme to sites within Europe, including in Britain.
The defence system's missile-interceptors would detect and block a nuclear attack from states like North Korea or Iran were they to ever launch an attack on the west.
Iran has said it wants to develop its communications network by launching satellites into space through its own technology. Previous Iranian satellites have been launched with Russian assistance.